Phil Gramm Will Wonder Aloud: What Did I Ever Do?

| Tue Jan. 13, 2009 12:02 PM EST

The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank and haven for discredited neoconservatives, is hosting a discussion next Friday titled "Is Deregulation a Cause of the Financial Crisis?" Here's the description:

During the recent campaign season, the Democrats blamed the financial crisis on "Republican deregulation," in particular the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (GLBA) and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA). The GLBA repealed the provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 that prevented affiliations between commercial and investment banks, and the CFMA, among other things, exempted credit default swaps and other derivatives from regulation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Although both acts were backed by the Clinton administration, Senator Phil Gramm (R-Texas)--then the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee--was the key congressional sponsor of the legislation. Is it plausible to connect the GLBA and the CFMA with the current financial crisis?

Guess who has been tabbed to answer the question of whether or not Phil Gramm screwed up the financial industry? That's right, Phil Gramm. He's AEI top guest for the evening. Fortunately, we can save you the trouble of going to this thing, because we've already answered the question. In summer 2008, David Corn published a piece called "Foreclosure Phil" that began:

Who's to blame for the biggest financial catastrophe of our time? There are plenty of culprits, but one candidate for lead perp is former Sen. Phil Gramm.

Visit AEI in a week and a half for a whole bunch of rationalization and self-justification or take a quick gander at David's excellent piece over your lunch break. Your choice.